November 17, 2013

Wapper of Antwerpen

When I received the comission to make a painting about what Antwerpen meant to me, I immediately had thought about the skies over here, dark and cloudy, gets you depressed if you fail to see the beauty in them. There are many myths surrounding this city as well, like the one of Lange Wapper. There are several versions of it but the one i love most is the one about a water spirit sleeping in the river Schelde. He occasionally comes out to play tricks on people.
Dear Antwerp, we had a rough relationship especially in the beginning, but i am glad we came to terms with our differences.
Wapper of Antwerp, acrylics on canvas, 30x30 cm
Wapper is on his way to his new owner in South Africa now. This is the first time a painting of mine is making it to the African continent :) Bon Voyage Wapper!

May 30, 2013

birthday girl...

What a week! I have celebrated my birthday three times already and it is not even my birthday yet :) (still an hour to go ;p) This year it was different that the earlier ones. I guess it has to do with my attitude. I feel calmer now, and more positive than ever.

A new age, a new year, let's see what it will bring to me and my family.  We have reached an important milestone this year and soon we will be moving-we still do not know where :) Couple days ago I had a dream about moving to Romania! ( I am watching too many Dracula movies) Now that would be something, wouldn't it?

The idea of moving to another country is exciting, on the other hand I have made such wonderful friends here in Antwerp :( It would feel awful if I had to say good-bye to them. Such a nasty dilemma. There is an awful lot of world I still have not seen yet. however I hate good-byes, I already have said too many of them... Oh well, nothing is set in stone at the moment. We just have to wait and see...

Only two more days of work and I will be in Amsterdam :) I just cannot wait! Once I am back I will be having an all-girl's old fashioned slumber party with my best friends. I hope the days go by slowly, pleaaseeee! I want to savour every minute of my vacation :) I need it so bad. I need it to rest and recharge my batteries, so that I can come back and start working on my portfolio. It needs an update very badly, since I want to land on more freelance jobs in 2014!

May 27, 2013

A gift to remember

I have already received my birthday gift from my mother in law :) 2 museumkarten (museum cards)!!! Now that is one of the best gifts I have ever received for my birthday! They said that the look on my face when I opened the package was worth seeing, I do not doubt that :)

For those who do not know what museumkaart is, it is a card that gives you free access to more than 400 museums in Holland. Once you have this card you never have to wait in long lines to buy a ticket, you can just walk in and enjoy the wonderful works waiting for you inside.

Next week Bas and I are going to Amsterdam! Yaay! I love Amsterdam I think it is the city I love the most in the whole world. I cannot explain why. Maybe it is because Bas comes from Amsterdam and I am still so madly in love with him that even this simple fact makes me love Amsterdam? Maybe it is the relaxed and honest attitude of the people? Maybe it is my super cool family in law? The amazing culture and respect for arts and personal expression? The freedom in the air? Maybe a combination of all these?

Whatever the reason, I love Amsterdam and I will be spending a whole week there next week, alone with my husband. He has a lot of studying to do, unfortunately, but I think he can still find the time to join me while i do some museum hopping.

Rijksmuseum is now open! Yaay! After years and years of waiting, I am so relieved it is open now. To Rijks Bas would definitely come as well. Van Gogh Museum is open as well, and it is a must-see for me every time I am in Amsterdam. And now that I have the museumkaart, I can go several times in the week and sketch for long hours. I must also visit the Jewish History Museum and see what they have. I used to go there solely for the works of Charlotte Salomon but they had such interesting exhibitions each time that it became a habit to visit the JHM every time I was in Amsterdam.

In addition to these big names, there are other museums I wish to visit. I think the most important one for me is the Verzetsmuseum, the museum of the resistance in the WWII. It is a place I have been wanting to go for a long time, but never had a chance to.

While I am in Amsterdam I will try to sketch every day and post my sketches on my blog. It will be a wonderful week, I can feel that already, and I want to record every second of it :)

I am so crazily happy! :)

May 5, 2013

over sketching and journalling

there is something i tell my students: always keep your sketches, never throw away any pages or drawings. there are several reasons why i say this. first of all every line that you draw is your own creation and in my opinion deserves respect. secondly even if you did not like the sketch you have made, you can always learn from your past mistakes. moreover there is always the possibility that perhaps tomorrow you will like the sketch you hated a month ago. and last but not least you never know when they come handy.

here is a little example of how an old sketch had turned into a painting. this is a sketch i had made in my sketchbook in early 2004. by then i was busy sketching gypsies and anything related to them. (i am still fascinated with gypsies by the way.) one thing that had come to my mind was how they never stay in one place for too long or settle. hence the windows and the doors. it was a quick sketch made on the airplane during a flight from holland to turkey.

years later in 2011 i went through my sketchbooks and saw this little drawing and painted it on canvas, with acrylics. this time the sketch had a different meaning to me. the gypsy was me trying to escape the domestic and comforting pleasures of settlement. that is why i painted it. i sold this painting during the arts and crafts fair in wommelgem.

same thing with the following sketches. they were loosely drawn on some forgotten pages of some forgotten sketchbook. when i ran out of ideas to paint on my little boxes i consulted my sketchbooks again and found them. yet again, they spoke to me in different words than before and transformed themselves into little paintings. you can check my previous blogpost to see them painted :)

April 28, 2013

A local arts and crafts fair...

Yesterday I and my friend Aliya have been to a local arts and crafts fair in Wommelgem. It is a small town not too far from where we are living. I have managed to sell two paintings plus some of the small wooden boxes i had painted. On this post you can see three of them.

It was nice being "out there" after a long period of seclusion. Chatting with other artists, discussing technique and materials, seeing their works, answering the questions of people who in exchange gave me very nice compliments and such. But i think the most fun part was being with my best friend Aliya. I hadn't seen her for weeks because she was on a ski vacation in France during the easter break. It was great being there with her, giggling and  talking and basically just sharing the day with  her. On the way back, her husband Dmitry came to pick us up and joined in the fun. It was such a fun day that despite the small eye infection i had, and the sunburn (who could guess that one could get sunburn in Belgium in april??) i have no complaints. Bas was so happy and proud when i got back. He is my biggest support and always encourages me to take my work out there. I am lucky to have him and my wonderful family that never leaves me alone even when i am on the other side of the world.

I have decided to take part in other fairs as well. Here is an overview of where you can catch me:

@ Lambermontmartre, the arts fair of our lovely south Antwerp, at the Lambermontplaats on every last sunday of the month from may till september, (May 26, June 30, July 28, August 25, September 29)

and @Kunst.Anna, the famous beach of Antwerp, the Sint-Anneke beach, on every first sunday of the month, from june till september, (May 5, June 2, July 7, August 4 and September 1)

Meanwhile Aliya has made wonderful stuff for the fair. She is a true magician that can turn any material into a work of art. My favorite one of all the things she made were the "sketch bags". A must for any artists that loves to sketch on the go! They are small shoulder bags made to house a sketchpad and pens/pencils. I am lucky for she agreed to give me one of them! yaay! I will make a picture of it, or even better, link to her blog once she puts the pictures of these bags online!